Richie Wellens lays out pre-season plans for Doncaster Rovers
Richie Wellens is determined to put in the foundations for a highly energetic Doncaster Rovers side from day one of pre-season.
The Rovers squad reported back for testing before the weekend with training set to commence from Monday.
Wellens wants his team to be able to press high throughout matches and says the ability to do that will be forged in the coming weeks before the start of the new campaign.
“From day one, it’ll be a motivated group that are hard working and will react in the right way,” he told the Free Press.
“If teams want to play football against us, we want to play against those teams. But we also want to get to a point where we can outrun and out work teams - press the ball high up the pitch but sustain it for long periods, not just doing it for a while and blowing up in the last 30 minutes.
“If you’re going to do that for 90 minutes every single week, this is where the foundations are put in, in pre-season. If we do it from day one, the group become a lot fitter and we’ll be able to sustain that.”
With his back four in place following the signings of Kyle Knoyle, Ro-Shaun Williams and Tommy Rowe, Wellens will look to focus on defensive transitions in the early days of pre-season.
And he says standards will be very high from the start.
“What we’ll be working on in the first nine or ten days of pre-season will all be on turnovers, transitions and reactions in our play,” he said.
“The fact we’ve got our back four and a decent core of players here already, those standards will be set from day one.
“Once we set the standards, any incoming player will see they have been set from the very first day of pre-season.
“I think it’s so vital. If clubs get it wrong in pre-season, it can look a bit of a circus with four or five trialists coming in this week and then some more next week and you’ve only got a small core of players to take forward.
“It can become a bit bitty. I like the fact we’re going to have a really good group for the first day of pre-season with a strong core of players and not one loan player yet.”
Rovers begin their pre-season programme of friendlies on July 10 at Rossington Main, after which the group will head away on a training camp in Scotland where the focus will be team spirit.
Wellens said: “That won’t be a lot of hard work because we’ll have played on the Saturday and we’ll have the game against Spennymoor on the way back down on the Tuesday.
“It’s more about getting to know each other. We’ll do a bit of socialising.
“It’s a new group so we’ll get to know each other, get that camaraderie and spirit going from very early on and that can take you a long way.”
As well as the Rossington and Spennymoor friendlies, Rovers will visit Bradford City before hosting a pair of home matches - one against Premier League opposition.
The final friendly will see them visit a League Two side on the Sunday before the start of the season.